With a compelling story, excellent performances, and assured direction, Witness remains one of the most successful examples of the romantic thriller. Director Peter Weir's first film set in America, it gripped audiences and critics alike with its beautiful austerity and a quiet force as restrained as the romance between its two central characters. One of the only feature films ever to focus on Amish culture, it does so without condescension, displaying the respectful curiosity of a thoughtful tourist. The film is also remarkable for Harrison Ford's lead performance as a hard-boiled Philadelphia cop; previously pegged as a one-dimensional action star, Ford finally demonstrated the range of his quiet talent. His Best Actor Oscar nomination established him as a more "serious" actor and helped him to branch out into films that didn't take place in outer space or feature bullwhips as a plot device.
by Rebecca Flint Marx review